July 16, 2015


After walking away from the Toll Brothers house, Frank and I were torn between renting and buying a house. There were pros and cons to each, I started looking at available rentals and realized that they were renting for what a mortgage would cost. That led us to beginning the pre-approval process. We wanted to secure a lender before wasting time shopping for homes. We've had a bad run with real estate and we weren't sure if the short sale or deed in lieu of foreclosure would haunt us. We preferred this route so there would be no surprises. After all of our ducks were in a row, we received approval a few days later, and then, the hunt began.

We enjoy living in the Silverado Ranch area, so neighboring areas were our top pick. However, we'd consider anything near the airport and/or easy access to the freeway. We were also open to older homes with large lots. We had little interest in homes in master planned developments and preferred lenient HOAs. We were flexible on the size of the house, but the focus was on a killer backyard. A pool and spa were a must! We also wanted privacy. An outdoor kitchen and gas fire pit were on our wish list.

The first half a dozen listings were complete duds. I was discouraged, but this was nothing new. Every time we've shopped for real estate we have seen bottom of the barrel properties before gems presented themselves. I'll never forget the first condos we saw in 2003 with cider block walls, gang graffiti and bullet holes. Or the filth I encountered when shopping for condo in Laughlin - Seriously, disgusting. The bugs had bugs. The homes we saw in 2008 were the pits, completely stripped of anything that wasn't holding the place together.

The second outing was far more promising. There was one house, I had my sights set on for a couple weeks. It took a little bit to schedule a showing. When we finally saw it, we thought it was great. They even had a RZR and Camaro in the garage - c'mon, now?! It ticked all boxes, and it was close to where we are now, but the homes were so close together, it felt like the neighbors could watch our every move. The asking price was a bit high, too, so we kept it in mind, but kept looking. I wasn't expecting the market to be so aggressive, but nice turn key homes were selling within days of being listed. Multiple offers became the norm. Anything on the market for a length of time was either overpriced or it had something bizarre going on.

We saw a great house in Green Valley the day after it was listed. It was beautiful, the kitchen was remodeled, but the bathrooms and laundry room needed updating. The house was in a great school district which would help resale value. Best of all, the backyard was killer. It had a ton of landscaping, it was so lush we'd have to hire a service, but it was private. We decided we'd put in an offer on the spot.

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[photo: realtor.com]

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Of course, the property had multiple offers. I had no interest in a bidding war and that's exactly what it turned into; we withdrew our offer and kept looking. It just wasn't meant to be. I've been stalking the listing on Realtor.com, I'm curious to see what it sold for, I'm guessing at least $25,000 over list, but betting on more.


KathyinNY said...

If I may ask, whatever happened to the property you had before? It seemed like a nice setting with pool and grilling outdoors, etc. Then you moved into an apartment?

Truly love your posts.

Happy house hunting!

Kellee said...

We bought the house in 2008 when home prices fell about 25%, then the bottom fell out. We sold the house short sale 2011 for 1/2 of what we paid - the value fell 75% from its peak. We were so far under water, and troubled with debt from carrying the condo that we couldn't sell. Plus, our income was reduced significantly when tourism was down and construction went bust. Our house was purchased in cash by investors, we rented for 2 years from the new owners. After 5 years in the home, we needed a change, the landscaping/maintenance became a burden. We wanted to travel more, so we started shifting priorities and about the same time the landlord wanted to increase the rent, so it was our sign to simplify. We downsized to the apartment. While we rented we were able to pay off all of our debts and build savings. We traveled quite a bit, but not as much as we intended because life got in the way. But it suited us well. Rentals have gone up so much now it isn't the deal it once was. Property values are on the rise (we'd still be underwater and probably bankrupt, if we didn't let the house go), hopefully, this time they'll hold steady. I fear they're volatile. But whatever will be, will be.

KathyinNY said...

Oh my goodness - yes I understand and priorities do change. Currently I am a homeowner in upstate NY. Our live in a rural setting in a somewhat poor county and our land/school taxes aren't that outrageous. However once we retire (looking at 5 years) we don't want the burden of owning so we shall see what our options are. We definitely want to be in the south during the winter months and play golf. I do hope it all works out for you.